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Aceh Ulemas Ban Valentine’s Day

BY NURDIN HASAN
BANDA ACEH, (TAG) – Two respected ulemas have warned the Muslims, especially Acehnese teenagers, no celebrating Valentine’s Day because it’s not allowed in Islam and against the Shariah law that implementing in the Indonesia’s northern most province.

“It’s totally banned and haram (forbidden) for all Muslims to celebrate the Valentine’s Day because it’s a Christian’s tradition and does not accord with Islamic Shariah,” Tgk. Faisal Ali, the chairman of Aceh chapter of Nahdlatul Ulema – the largest’s Islamic organization in the country, told The Aceh Globe on Tuesday.
Aceh is the only province in Indonesia adopted a partial Shariah law in 2001 as a part of regional autonomy offered to help quell separatist sentiment. The province’s autonomous status made possible its legislature’s decision to pass laws legalizing corporal punishments, such as caning.
According to Wikipedia, Valentine’s Day is a holiday observed on Februari 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It’s traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards that known as valentines.
The day first became associated with romatic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when tradition of courtly love flourished. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from General Roman Calender of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul IV, the Wikipedia said.
It added that the modern Valentine’s Day symbols  include the heart-shaped outline, dove, and the figure of the winged cupid. Since the 19th centurey, handwritten valentines have given way to mass produced greeting cards.
Tgk. Muslim Ibrahim, head of the province’s Consultative Assembly of Ulema (MPU) and a professor at the provincial capital Banda Aceh's Ar-Raniry State Islamic Institute (IAIN), mentioned that celebrating Valentine’s Day is sinful and forbidden for all Muslims.
“This celebrating comes from Christian and has no legal basis in the Islamic Shariah law,” he told The Aceh Globe. “So, taking part in celebrating the day of love is haram for all Muslim.”
Muslim said Valentine’s Day went against the Islamic teaching and values and was used to overly express love to someone of the opposite sex. Based on his study, in Valentine’s Day, someone celebrating it can express their love freely to each other, something that against the Shariah.
“I hope the young generation, especially the Acehnese teenageers can be proud of our own culture and traditions which abounds with Islamic values and maintain our identity,” he said. “I call on parents to provide guidance to their children so that they do not celebrate that day.”
Faisal who is also the Secretary General of Aceh’s Dayah Ulema Association (HUDA), an organization comprised of the province's traditional ulemas, says that love in Islam is not necessarily specified day, but every day and time for human beings to love each other with some rules stipulated in the Shariah.
“Therefore, Islam’s young generation must not participate in celebration of a western festivity because we have our own traditions to celebrate based on the Shariah,” he said.
Faisal is also calling on all Muslim parents, especially those in the staunchly Aceh province which also known as Veranda of Mecca, to instruct the knowledge of religion and supervise their children on that matter.
"Do not let the Acehnese Muslims younger generation poisoned by a culture of life that are contrary to Islamic values. All parties, especially parents, should guide the children from doing deviated activities.”
He added that the responsibility of parents to their children not only limited providing a living and meet the needs of clothing and food, sending to school but also they should teach their children religious education to become good behavior as appointed in Islam.
In the last few years, some Acehnese teenagers celebrated the Valentine’s Day to express their love for each other by presenting chocolates or flowers, and sending pinky greeting cards. Some of them also spent the time at a quite place, like beach to express their love. 
“Those are not Islamic traditions. The Acehnese younger generation must stop celebrating Valentine’s Day because we don’t need to follow the Christian’s traditions,’ Faisal said. “Acehnese teenagers must respect their own traditions based on the Islamic Shariah.”
Faisal also urged the Aceh Government to enforce and implement the Islamic Sharia in earnest and sincere rather than because of political motives, so that enforcement is only running at a certain momentum.
"The enforcement of Shariah law in Aceh is difficult as expected if not fully supported by government and other authorities. Do not implement the Shariah based on the political goals," he said, adding that the authorities should be aware if celebrations of Valentine’s Day by teens in the province.[]
Aceh Ulemas Ban Valentine’s Day Aceh Ulemas Ban Valentine’s Day Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on February 07, 2012 Rating: 5

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